Monday, January 18, 2010

Got My Game On

I went to the second half of the "Strategic Redeployment" from Paint Creek Crossing to "Get Your Game On" in Ann Arbor.  The folks there really went out of their way to make the Paint Creek refugees right at home, including setting up additional gaming tables and a paint bar.  The only thing I would have liked is more light at the paint bar, since it's in the back of the store and has worse lighting than the front of the store.  Just the addition of a $25 overhead light in the area would fix that problem.

I won the painting competition (and won a battleforce!) for the Dwarf Engineer we all received on the last Saturday of Paint Creek and got to take home the Warpstone trophy.  I'll defend it next month in their painting contest.  So far the category seems to be "open" so I'll have to put something really over the top together.

Thanks, GYGO!

Friday, January 15, 2010

3D-TV: 1999 Technology

All the news reports about 3D-TV at CES this year got me wondering what the technology would be like.  After a little digging, I am sorry to say that it's nothing new.  I was experiencing this 11 years ago on my PC playing "Giants: Citizen Kabuto" and "Tomb Raider 2" using an Elsa 3D Revelator video card.

The 3d effect is achieved by using glasses that have LCD "shutters" that block one eye at a time from seeing the screen, switching back and forth many times a second.  Synchronized with an image on-screen that switches at the same same rate between two slightly different images give the illusion of 3D.  The more similar the two images are, the further the object looks away from you.  It's a very effective method, if a bit flickery.  The video card required special drivers to render essentially two versions of each screen, with the z distance controlling the difference in images.  A small IR-LED emitter on top of the computer monitor told the glasses when to switch eyes.

While the effect was cool, I eventually gave up on the technology.  The glasses were irritating to wear (and 3D-TV uses these same sorts of glasses) in light of the fact that I already wear glasses.  They just didn't give me that "kick back and have fun" feeling.  We'll see if future Budweiser commercials will feature a roomful of people watching sports wearing big 3D glasses.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Universe Of Foreheads

Ah, the authentic Star Trek experience...

A friend of mine just got in the Star Trek Online beta.  The company that made STO also made City of Heroes, so we were expecting a great character creation process and it did not disappoint.  You can pick from a few stock races or just make your own.  Imagine the thousands of freakish forehead possibilities!  My friend made the most grotesque dude he could imagine, with a huge, corpulent torso on long spindly legs, thicks arms that didn't even reach his waist ending in a child's hand.  Add huge feet and a head designed to look like it's wearing a thong and you have Ensign Beefcake!

You start the game in the lounge/bar area.  He immediately started dancing, then jumped up on the bar and started to dance, interposing himself between two NPC conversing over the bar.  They continued as if nothing strange was happening.

I really wonder what the final audience for this game will be.  The signal to noise will be low enough that serious trek fans probably won't be able to stomach it, and I don't know how much material the Star Trek universe would provide to an adolescent sense of humor before it turns entirely to griefing.

For now, he will cruise around the galaxy on the U.S.S. Sausagefest.  Another friend of mine started yesterday aboard the U.S.S. Enterherprize.

Yeah, I hang with a sophisticated crowd.

EDIT:  It's nice to see that PvP chronicled this experience as well. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Adeptus Sororitas Flororitas

Instead of painting on my lunch hour yesterday, this is what I did.

Three little words:  time well spent.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Not The Answer I Was Looking For

I saw a news story about Avatar's box office take, and the fact that it's #2 for all time.  I mentioned this to my wife in passing.

Me: "Avatar is #2 for all time box office.  You know which is #1 right?"
Stef: "No.  Tell me."
Me: "Titanic."  (said like it should have some meaning)
Stef: "Yeah?  So?" (not seeing the connection)
Me: "What do those movies have in common?"
Stef: ".... blue people."

I had to leave it at that.  I was laughing too hard to answer the question for real.  She is wickedly clever sometimes.  She asked me later what the real connection was and I told her about James Cameron's involvement.  "Oh, yeah yeah....that's right."

The Final Hours of GW Paint Creek Crossing

Yesterday was the final day for my local GW store.  Most of the people I had met and befriended there since itsApril 12, 2007 opening showed up for the last day or two to play/paint/goof off one final time.  It was bittersweet to be sure.  Manager (and only employee for this store) Brett gave away some left over promotionals and non-GW terrain pieces the store had accumulated over the years.  Tables were moved to see what goodies could be found under them.  Lots of people lingered until the final moments of the store closing.  I did.

I don't curse the name of GW for closing the store.  Michigan has a terrible economic slump right now.  Several of the stores in the same complex have closed in the past year alone, including the pet store right next door.  There are other game stores around here, but I don't know of any as nicely accoutremented as a GW store.  Most stick gamers in the back of the store (or worse) on folding tables with crumbling terrain, poor lighting, and no place to paint.  FLGS be aware, after Paint Creek Crossing the ante has been raised.  Give me a decent place to play and I will buy things at your store.

Another thing that occurred to me is that I entered my first painting competition at this store, and displayed my Golden Demon winning model there as well.  If I compete now I don't really feel like I have a home store with whom to share my triumph.  (Side note, I'm really hoping that one year from now Ang will be able to have a fantastic store running.)

So farewell Paint Creek store.  You were great fun at times, and you were craptastic at times, but you will be the metric upon which I measure all other game stores.

(above: moving terrain boards and tables around to look for anything that might have gotten lost.  You have to admit, that's a cool environment with all the wall art and flags.)

2010 Tyranids Commentary

Sometimes the simplest commentaries hold the most wisdom.

Yes, he speaks truth.

EDIT: I showed Jay this video.  He asked why I used music from Dawn of War when there are no Tyranids in Dawn of War.  I told him about Dawn of War II, and showed him a clip of gameplay that included some 'nids.  Instead of being delighted, he shrieked in horror when he saw what was going on.  "They're killing the Tyranids!"

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Disappointment: Warpstone Painting League

From this.

Purchase a Tyranid Trygon/Mawloc kit, assemble it, and paint it this weekend and enter it in a competition to win the Warpstone Painting Trophy pictured here.
 Yup.  It's another "opportunity" to buy a model and speed paint it.  I was really hoping for something other than another "Iron Buyer" promotion.  The Trygon/Mawloc is pretty big, is it not?  I have a hard time seeing someone buying it on Saturday, painting it for 4pm Sunday judging and doing any reasonable work.  Maybe I just paint too slow, but I really struggled to get Harry the Hammer painted in 25 hours (elapsed time, not painting time) and he was good-not-great.  I really look forward to seeing the winning pieces for this competition.

Or maybe it's just sour grapes because this painting competition isn't playing to my strengths...

EDIT: Go figure. I won one of these for a painting competition held when my local GW store closed. It's actually a neat little trophy.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Starting a New Army: Dip the Toe or Just Jump In?

I'm a relative newcomer to this hobby.  At the age of 41 years I've only been wargaming for just over 5 years.  In that time I've probably played two dozen games tops, all systems combined.  The armies I have started are as follows:
  • 1 Warhammer Fantasy army (Skaven)
  • 1 Warmachine army (Protectorate of Menoth)
  • 4 Warhammer 40k armies (Blood Raven marines, Orks, Witch Hunters, and Eldar)
Notice the discrepancy there? I found myself compelled to start other 40k armies in addition to my (and everyone else's) original marine army because I loved the models.  After buying small portions of each of the above 40k armies, it has become clear to me that I will probably never paint enough of them to make a 1500 point list.  As such I am liberated to paint them for fun... the main impetus behind purchasing them.

Now, for the first time, I am considering jumping in fully with a wolf/spider mounted goblin list for WHFB.  No Night Goblins allowed.  Since I already have a few units for the army lying around, the complete 2k list would only cost about $200 more at this point.  I am dangerously close to just jumping in and buying everything needed.  This offends my sense of frugality, since I have unpainted Skaven, Menites, Marines, Orks, Ordo Hereticus, and Eldar patiently waiting in the basement.

So the question to you, wargamers, is do you buy a model or two and ease slowly into a new army or do you go nuts and drop $400 in a week to get a playable force?  Do you sell your old army to do so or just whup out the credit card?

Friday, January 01, 2010

What? 2010?

My wife's first words of 2010 to me: "Put down that knife."

And now, in the words of someone else...
You run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
and racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same (in a relative way) but you're older,
shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

Normally I save that for birthdays, but it felt appropriate for the entry of 2010.
2010, and no flying cars.
Where is the justice?

Painting Commission Rates

***NOTICE *** 
I no longer accept painting commissions.  This page is archived for reference only.

I accept commission painting requests from single piece to full army.  Price will vary based on quality desired and possibly number of models.  If you really want me to paint your entire army at top quality I'm willing to do that as long as you are willing to pay.  If you compare the price for each level of work against the time I spend on each model you'll see that I don't exactly pay myself minimum wage here.  I take great pleasure in knowing models I have painted are seeing battle throughout the world.  By the way, whoever has the Night Goblin with Bunny Slippers, I'd love to know how he is doing.  For many examples of my work over the last few years, visit my CMON Gallery or my Photobucket account.

The following quality/price points are for more typical models.  The price may be modified somewhat by complex color schemes or other time consuming requests.

Basic / Troops Quality - this is your basic infantry model, such as an Empire Spearman, Space Marine, Eldar Guardian, etc.  This level of quality is more than "two colors and dip" and includes detail such as eyes, if applicable, and possibly some freehand work (chapter symbol, Ork dags, etc.)  Horde armies inquire about large unit discounts.  This pricing level does not include any Warhammer/40k models on >25mm bases or warjacks/warbeasts.  No conversion work is offered at this quality level.
Typical work time is 2-4 hours / model.
  • Painting: $8/model
  • Cavalry / Bike mounted: +$4/model
  • Assembly: +$1/model
  • Basing: +$1/model
High Quality - this level is for elite model that you want to give a bit more love to, such as Howling Banshees, Terminators, Sisters Repentia, etc.  Extra attention will be given to highlighting, shading and details on these models.  Minor conversion work is available at a premium at this quality level.
Typical work time is 4-6 hours / model.
  • Painting: $20/model
  • Medium Model (WH Ogre, Light Warjack/Warbeast, Troll, etc.): +$10/model
  • Large Model (Heavy Warjack/Warbeast, artillery piece & crew, Eldar Vyper, etc.): +$15/model
  • Cavalry / Bike mounted (single rider on horse/bike/Krootox, etc): +$10/model
  • Vehicle (medium tanks, Rhino to Land Raider sized): +$20/model
  • Large Mount:  varies by mount (a Warhawk would be less than a High Elf Dragon)
  • Assembly: +$1/ infantry model
  • Assembly: +$3/large model
  • Assembly: +$5/vehicle
  • Basing: +$1/model
Top Quality - this level is for display models or the Lords/HQ of your army to make them really shine on the battlefield.  The price includes custom basing and a very high quality paint job and minor conversion work, if desired.  Major conversion work is available for a premium at this quality level.
Typical work time is 12-24 hours / model.
  • Painting: $45/model
  • Medium Model (WH Ogre, Light Warjack/Warbeast, Troll, etc.): +$20/model
  • Large Model (Heavy Warjack/Warbeast, artillery piece incl. crew): +$35/model
  • Cavalry / Bike mounted: +$20/model
  • Large Mount: varies by mount/size 
  • Assembly: included
  • Basing: included
Terms:  Once scope of job, painting scheme and price is agreed upon, a 20% down payment is required.  You may send models to me or have me purchase them for you at 10% off retail price (plus sales tax.)  After receiving the models I will start a custom project blog, your choice of public or private, and begin painting.  Updates will be posted as often as is possible.  Once painting is complete and approved, full payment is expected.  Once full payment is received, the painted miniatures will be shipped insured and with signature confirmation.  Shipping of the completed product (in the U.S.) is included in the price.

For both our security, I prefer to use Paypal for payment.  Other arrangements can be made is that does not work for you.  Please be aware that there may be additional fees for international orders to ship the completed product.  I will do everything in my power to ensure international orders arrive at your door quickly and intact, but once the package leaves my possession I can take no responsibility for it.  Sorry.  In addition, I will not falsify customs documents by under-valuing the contents of any package.

Hints: For extra safety in shipping you could send me assembled models in a Sabol Army Transport or equivalent.  If models arrive at my door without damage in one chances are they will return to you just as undamaged.

What To Do Now:  If you would like to get a quote on a painting job, send me an email saying what you would like, including the type and number of models, the desired quality level and a rough description of the paint scheme you would like.  From there we can work out price point and timing/delivery.

Updated 3/19/2010